Announced in Jakarta, Indonesia, today, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 has a narrow QWERTY keyboard form factor, similar to the Bold 9700/9780. RIM calls it an evolution of the Bold form factor, which has also included wide QWERTY smartphones, such as the recent 9900. The 2.45-inch LCD touch screen has a resolution of only 480x360 pixels (HVGA), which is rather low by the standards of midrange smartphones these days. Carlo Chiarello, senior vice president of handheld product management at RIM, has assured us that it has the "right balance of resolution and LCD quality," resulting in good "blacks and contrast levels."
The Bold 9790 comes with a raised row of buttons under the touch-screen display, which represents a departure from the usual flushed version. Love it or hate it, it is reminiscent of the buttons found on the Torch 9860. We especially like how the keys just seem to curve and fall off the edges.
You'll find the charging port on the bottom of the phone, which makes it easier to use the handset while it's plugged in. In terms of storage, you'll get 8GB of internal memory, expandable up to 32GB via a microSD slot.
The volume rocker and shortcut key on the side of the phone are protruding narrow ridges. This may cause some discomfort when holding the phone for a long phone call, but we'll find out in our in-depth review pretty soon.
So which Bold design do you like most? RIM has announced that the Bold 9790 will be available in Indonesia on November 26, with the first 1,000 customers getting a 50 percent discount off the estimated retail price of $515. Pricing and availability for other countries have yet not been announced, so check with your carrier.
The 3.2-inch touch screen shares the same resolution as the Bold 9790: 480x360 pixels.
When asked if RIM will drop its traditional QWERTY keyboards for future smartphones using the BBX operating system, Chiarello assured us that this is not the case. "Not a chance," he said--but we definitely haven't seen the last of all-touch BlackBerry handhelds.
The BlackBerry Curve 9380's onboard 5-megapixel autofocus camera comes with a flash and records VGA videos. Chiarello says the demand for non-camera versions of current models has decreased, as it is possible to disable/enable a BlackBerry camera directly via BlackBerry Enterprise Server. As a result, we may not see many more non-camera handsets from RIM, unless operators request for it.